Plan do check act (PDCA) cycle
Definition: process for quality improvement. In the first step (plan), a way to effect improvement is developed. In the second step (do), the plan is carried out, preferably on a small scale. In the third step (check), a study takes place between what was predicted and what was observed in the previous step. In the last step (act), action is taken on the causal system to effect the desired change. The plan-do-check-act cycle is sometimes referred to as the Shewhart cycle, because Walter A. Shewhart discussed the concept in his book Statistical Method From the Viewpoint of Quality Control, and as the Deming cycle, because W. Edwards Deming introduced the concept in Japan. The Japanese subsequently called it the Deming cycle. Also called the Plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycle.
Source: Glossary, American Society for Quality (ASQ).